Thousands of people are rallying in the centre of Athens right now

They are braving bad weather as they make their feelings clear over the upcoming referendum.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE have gathered tonight for a rally in Syntagama Square in Athens on what has been a remarkable day for Greece.

There appear to be different groups at the rally who are representing both the Yes and No sides in the upcoming referendum, which is due to take place on 5 July.

Greece Bailout AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Even a lightning strike couldn’t put off the crowd, who are meeting in one of the most pivotal times in their country’s long history.

David Waddell / YouTube

Rallies have been ongoing throughout the crisis in Greece, with tonight’s feeling especially notable given that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras requested a rescue plan from the European Union this afternoon.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis confirmed today that Greece will miss its €1.6 billion installment it was due to pay to the IMF tonight.

Greece plans to hold a referendum on the existing demands from its creditors, but it’s not clear how the rescue plan request would fit in with that.

The financial problems were felt this week in the announcement of a temporary shutdown of banks, which led to massive queues at ATMs.

The maximum Greeks can withdraw daily is €60, but tourists are allowed unlimited withdrawals.

“We brought quite a lot of cash with us, but we’ve been budgeting to make sure it doesn’t run out,” said Michele Ammann, 48, from Switzerland, told AFP.

“I feel sorry for the Greeks, they’ve been asked to sacrifice everything, right down to their underpants.”

- Additional reporting AFP

ANALYSIS: Closed banks, capital controls and a referendum… What next for Greece? >

Read: Kenny urges Greece to return to negotiations as Tsipras stands firm>

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